Compact Mass Spectrometer | expression™ Advion | www.expressioncms.com 

In today’s economic climate, it is necessary to ensure that all purchased equipment will provide a return on investment. There are numerous factors that impact an ROI calculation for mass spectrometers. One of these factors is the throughput of the instrument. “Throughput is also much higher today. Customers easily could spend $100,000 to $200,000 on a mass spectrometer. And the argument for spending that much is always increased productivity,” says Ian Jardine, Ph.D., vice president and chief technology officer for life sciences and mass spectrometry for Thermo Fisher Scientific (San Jose, CA).

When trying to make a business case for purchasing an LC-MS system, cost of ownership and cost per sample are important criteria. As mentioned earlier, throughput affects the cost per sample. “And cost per sample may be based on the volume of samples to be analyzed on an annual basis or the competitive pressures (if it’s a commercial lab) to do that analysis and compete on quality, turnaround time, and price. So throughput is important there,” says Lester Taylor, Ph.D., LC-MS product marketing, Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA).

ROI calculations

Waters Corporation works with their customers on return of investment calculations for LC-MS systems. “Our applications specialists in the field routinely work with lab managers to work out the return on investment for our systems. Sometimes the customer is looking to move from a traditional HPLC system to a UPLC and LC-MS system, and our field experts would help their customers figure out things such as solvent consumption and throughput,” says Steve Smith, senior director and mass spectrometry product manager, Waters Corporation (Milford, MA). “The customer might be a service provider that is charging their customers a certain amount per analysis, so they would want to purchase an LC-MS system in which the cost per analysis is low.”

“When trying to make a business case for purchasing an LC-MS system, cost of ownership and cost per sample are important criteria.”

Other companies are doing the same. “The team at PerkinElmer creates scenarios to stimulate and simplify return on investment questions every day. We put ourselves in the technicians’ and the lab managers’ shoes constantly,” says Sal Iacono, vice president and general manager of mass spectrometry for PerkinElmer (Waltham, MA). “All our system solutions are focused on significantly lower initial operational costs, lower maintenance costs, and, most importantly, wonderfully simple means of generating results.”


Quadrupole-based PTR-MS System PTR-QMS 500 Series | IONICON | www.ionicon.com 



High-Throughput Mass Spectrometry System RapidFire 300 | Agilent | www.agilent.com 

“This return on investment equation also takes into account the cost of consumables—for example, LC columns, solvents, etc.—so that for several high-throughput assays, the Agilent RapidFire/MS system becomes a very cost-effective approach and more than justifies the initial capital cost of the instrument,” adds Taylor.

“All our system solutions are focused on significantly lower initial operational costs, lower maintenance costs, and, most importantly, wonderfully simple means of generating results.”

Finally, a comment by Lester Taylor at Agilent cemented the concept. Says Taylor: “I’ve been doing return on investment calculations to help labs make the decision for the purchase of an instrument that costs several hundred thousand dollars. The return on investment would take into account the total outlay. In other words, it would look at the total number of samples in the lab, total number of instruments, number of samples per instrument, and how much revenue that instrument is effectively generating in a year. And that gives you sort of a return on investment approach to look at it.”